“Alternative Education: ‘Setting a Trend, Breaking a Trend’”

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Webcast Details

Aired on: January 10th, 2017

3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)

Presentation Slides

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Our Guest(s) This Week

Randolph H. Dillingham

Randolph H. Dillingham holds a MEd from Clemson University and an EdS degree from The Citadel. He has also completed postgraduate work at SC State University and Nova-Southeastern University. He taught in secondary education from 1970-77 before becoming an assistant principal and later principal in secondary schools in SC, including Principal of SC Department of Corrections from 1990-1998. He is currently Director of the Anderson County Alternative School, a position he has held since 1998.

1SG Rodney McCullough

1SG Rodney McCullough is the director of the Anderson County Alternative School SIRT (Students Involved in Realistic Training) Program. After six years of military service, McCullough returned to SC to work in law enforcement where he became one of the founding members of the SIRT project, which serves at-risk youth. McCullough is also a member of the Men at Work Program and the Manhood Academy, which serve male students from single parent households by providing role models, tutoring, and activities. He believes that together we can make a difference in the choices that young men face.

This Week's Topic

Director Randolph Dillingham and 1SG Rodney McCullough discuss the model for the Anderson County Alternative School (ACAS) in South Carolina. Since 1996, ACAS has established itself as a place where students in grades 6-12, some of whom have been expelled or removed from public school or have been court ordered to attend, can get back on track for graduation.

In the school’s structured environment, students adhere to a dress code, including wearing a uniform. They also participate in academic classes tailored to individual student abilities and experience real-life training through the school’s Students in Realistic Training (SIRT) program. Social and emotional learning and family relationship building geared to enhancing positive change are emphasized to allow students an opportunity to experience success they may not have experienced in a traditional classroom.

ACAS involves the business and faith communities in creating opportunities for teaching life skills and acquainting students with experiences that will follow them through adulthood. Examples include the Men at Work ministry, equine-assisted learning opportunities, enrichment opportunities made possible through grants funded by local businesses, and field trips designed to allow students to practice skills learned.

The school provides those most at risk for not graduating a lifeline by helping students succeed and overcome self-limiting behaviors, including breaking the cycle of those behaviors that can lead to dropping out of school.

This webcast will explore the process, outcomes, and lessons learned from ACAS’s efforts, including:

    • involving communities in the school,
    • providing wraparound counseling services,
    • modeling expected behaviors, and
    • breaking the pattern of self-limiting behaviors.


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